The narrative of Seattle’s red hot real estate market has continued well into 2018, as the Emerald City has now held its reign atop the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for 18 consecutive months, while home prices across our region continue to set new benchmark values.
According to the report, home values in Seattle have increased 85 percent since they bottomed out in February 2012, a growth rate that is surpassed only by San Francisco — driven by its thriving tech industry — and Las Vegas — one of the recession’s hardest hit markets.
While unprecedented home price growth has caused concern among some, Case-Shiller notes strong economic fundamentals in the Emerald City, which reported the highest job growth rate among the 20 U.S. cities covered by the report.
In the first quarter of 2018, single-family homes in the city at large reached an average sales price of $917,000, up more than $30,000 compared to the final quarter of 2017 and just more than 14 percent higher than they were in the first quarter of last year. Looking deeper at first quarter data for the Central Seattle/Madison Park/Capitol Hill region, the average sales price increased by nearly the same rate, up 14.8 percent on a same-quarter basis at $791,000. Prices peaked at an average of $817,000 in March 2018. Confluent with increasing sales prices, the average price per square foot is likewise on the rise, up 14.1 percent compared to the start of 2017 at $348.11.
Though inventory held steady on a year-over-year basis at 0.9 months, anemic supply continues to push up prices and impact the number of home sales, which decreased from 5,219 in the first quarter of 2017 to 4,754 in the first quarter of 2018. These market fundamentals are driving the cumulative days on market downward, as they hovered at around one month in the first quarter of 2018 at 29 days. The listing price, however, is playing a critical role in just how quickly a home sells.
In Madison Park, we are seeing homes priced at or below $1.8 million go much more quickly (in a matter of days), while those at higher price points are generally spending weeks on the market. The exception to the rule? When a multi-million-dollar home is truly turn-key and finished “to the nines” it is likely to sell quickly, because most buyers within the luxury market are not looking for a renovation project. Thus, sellers must respond accordingly, working with a listing broker to identify and address potential deterrents; sometimes it’s as simple as investing in a fresh coat of paint or partial staging to help a buyer envision themselves in the home and see past what they may perceive as imperfections.
As of this writing, there are just three condominiums and six single-family homes ranging from $897,950 to $3.12 million in Madison Park. If you have considered making your next move in 2018, the spring selling season may be the opportune time to capitalize on our strong seller’s market and appease the many buyers that are looking to move to our cherished community.